Retro Cars => General Discussions => Topic started by: RobertB on December 08, 2015, 09:27:41 AM

Title: 1980's Cadillac Fleetwood - another project car?
Post by: RobertB on December 08, 2015, 09:27:41 AM
     One of the FCUG members has been without a car for several months.  The transmission on his late 1990's Toyota Camry went bad, and repair/replacement would be $2,500+.  He could fix the transmission, or he could buy a used car.  However, he can't afford the payments for either of those options.
     On my recent drive to/from the Pacific Northwest, those hours on the road gave me a lot of time to think about the problem.  Secretary/treasurer Dick Estel has loaned me the use of his 2000 Ford F150 a couple of times for CommVEx.  Why can't I do something similar for our club member?
     Loan a car... my main Crown Vic?  No way!  My Mercury Colony Park station wagon?  No, that's my back-up car.  My Ford Ranchero?  No, that's the classic I want to retro-mod... however slowly that goes.
     However, my father has old cars in his backyard, ready to be fixed up.  The easiest one to get working in short order would be a mid-1980's Cadillac Fleetwood, a long, long beast of a car!  Estimated weight - 4,500 pounds.  121.5 inch wheelbase, which is over 7 inches longer than my Crown Vic.  Almost a foot longer in length than my Crown Vic. Small V8 engine (so it's not going to be a speedster).  A huge amount of passenger space but strangely, less trunk space than my Crown Vic.
     To get it running, I'd have to install new tires, new drive belts, new coolant hoses, new spark plugs, distributor cap, distributor rotor, possibly the spark plug cables, fuel filter, oil filter, oil, air filter, and radiator coolant.  I could do a lot of that work.  Estimated cost - $800, the biggest cost being the tires.  The suspension, brakes, and the exhaust system would have to be inspected.  Hopefully, no major repairs would be needed on those.  Then it would have to be re-registered and smogged.
     Optional maintenance items to increase reliability (but would increase costs of getting it running) would be transmission and differential fluid changes.
     As for the FCUG member getting to use that car, he'd have to pay for the re-registration and smogging, and of course, any gasoline used.  His insurance company would cover him for the use of the car.
     When would I have time (and the money to do this)?  Well, the 3-week Christmas vacation is coming up.  I could poke around the car and see if all of this doable.  But the car would not be ready by the end of that vacation.  Hmm, maybe during Easter vacation...

          Thinking about this,
          Robert Bernardo
          Fresno Commodore User Group

Title: Re: 1980's Cadillac Fleetwood - another project car?
Post by: RobertB on December 27, 2015, 01:29:39 AM
     I just did a quick exterior inspection of the car.  It seems that it is a '79 Cadillac Sedan de Ville.  That means it has a 7.0 liter (425 c.i.) V8 engine with 180 horsepower.  That's better.  Not so better is the large indentation in the roof (as if a heavy bag of cement had been put there).  Also the headliner is severely drooping from the roof.  The vinyl top is mostly in shreds with large patches of stripped vinyl, exposing dried glue.  Undenting the roof and fixing the headliner?  I'd say another $200 to $300.

         Merry Christmas,
         Robert Bernardo
         Fresno Commodore User Group